BEA 2013 Tips & Tricks
Part 1: As A Matter of FAQ
So glad you asked! BEA stands for BookExpo America. It is a huge (the biggest in the US) event where publishers, authors, book sellers, bloggers, librarians, publicists, and every other person associated with books converge to talk about shoes and weather patterns of southeast—
Just kidding! They talk about books. Lots and lots of books.
The idea is to build buzz for upcoming titles and sustain energy for already released titles.
2. Anyone can go?
Eh, not really. You have to be involved in the world ‘o’ books in some way. But let’s say that you’re someone who just loves books and want to go. BEA has a program called Power Readers where you can get a discounted ticket for the last day of BEA.
3. How do I register?
Check out the BookExpo America website:
From there figure out which category you fit into:
Keep in mind that when you register there are other things you may be prompted or invited to register for, too, like the BEA Blogger Conference or one of the author breakfasts. It’s up to you to decide if you want to do anything but wander the expo floor like a googley-eyed frog. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
4. Is it true bloggers can get in for free?
No. Yes. Well, let me break it down a bit: In the past bloggers have been able to apply for a press pass. The press pass is a free pass that lets you do all the normal BEA exhibit things (meet authors, get books, etc.), however the idea is that people using this pass will in some way report back about BEA and the books within, either by blogging about it or publishing something in print. If you don’t plan to review BookExpo America as an event or the books you snag while there, you really have no business applying for said pass.
Also keep in mind that they are selective about who gets these passes. Please don’t think you can go start a blog tomorrow and apply next week and get it. Your blog has to have the stats to support you getting this free pass (you have to be able to prove how many unique visitors you have, etc.). Plus there’s also the lingering bad taste about what happened last year with the press passes that left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.
5. What happened last year with the free passes?
I think a lot of people got wind of the free pass last year and went crazy applying for them. The rule of thumb was you would get an email confirming your registration and if you don’t hear back in 2-3 weeks, then you’re good to go. So you only get a second email if BEA is refusing your pass.
About a month before BEA, dozens of people got emails saying their pass was denied. Not so much a big deal had it happened in the 2-3 weeks that they originally stated, but people were getting these emails 4 months after they had applied (myself included). By that point my plans were locked in (room booked, train ticket purchased, etc.) and I didn’t have the extra $100 needed for a pass to BEA—and I wasn’t the only one.
(This is not to say I have an issue with paying to get in—I happily applied and paid my way this year.)
Long story short: BEA comped everyone a free pass and made the situation right. Yes, a mistake was made, but those in charge of BEA righted the wrong with a lot of grace and kindness.
6. When is BEA?
This year it’s May 30-June 1. They bumped it up a week to help cut down on hotel costs.
7. What if I can’t go every day?
There’s no rule that says you have to go to BEA every single day from 9-5. There just isn’t. Come and go as you will. They also offer individual day passes for people (in addition to the Power Readers program). If you’re a librarian, author or blogger on the east coast who can hitch a ride on the Mega Bus to NYC for a single day, then do it. The experience and atmosphere and networking you can do in a single day is well worth it.
8. All the books there are free?
For the most part, yes. You are asked to donate a dollar for every book you get to help offset the costs of printing books (especially ARCs) for the expo. There are big donation boxes by the autographing area. Honestly, I drop several twenties into the box the beginning of the first day and then don’t worry about it. Lots of people do that.
Also keep in mind that a lot of the shiny, pretty books in the publisher booths are display only copies. You may be smacked if you take them. Verbally slapped, anyway. When in doubt, just ask. People get hung up on things being “free” at BEA and they get embarrassed when they try and take stuff that isn’t available for the taking.
There are other things there, too, that are being sold. I think I actually saw someone with a booth selling glow in the dark bugs? Does this ring a bell with anyone?
9. What if I can’t go at all?
Armchair BEA, my friends.
It is this fantastic thing where people who can’t go to the actual BEA still band together and do fun stuff while everyone else runs around like lunatics in New York. They have giveaways, memes, contests, and so many other things. Don’t sit home bummed you didn’t go—interact with other bloggers and make some new friends!
10. It’s in May? I still have time to plan.
You do! Hence why I’m putting this post up the beginning of February. But if you wait until April to start planning, things get much pricier. I booked my train ticket a few weeks ago. If I wait until the month before the expo to do that, my ticket price jumps from less than $100 roundtrip to nearly $300. Same goes with hotels and the price to get into the expo.
Names of authors attending have already started trickling in. If you have any questions or just want to keep up on what's going on, join the Goodreads BEA Group: